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South Korea’s Kakao Entertainment, Monsta X Label Owner, Raises $966M Led by Sovereign Wealth Funds

The parent of Starship Entertainment, which includes Monsta X and other K-pop acts, says the investment will help "spearhead growth in K-culture worldwide."

South Korea-based media company Kakao Entertainment, which owns Monsta X‘s K-pop record label Starship Entertainment, said on Thursday (Jan. 12) it raised 1.2 trillion won ($966 million USD) from a group of investors led by sovereign wealth funds.


The move signals strong investor interest in Korean music and media. Kakao Entertainment owns three other record labels in addition to Starship: Antenna, Edam Entertainment and IST Entertainment, the latter of which lists The Boyz on its roster. Kakao Entertainment also owns the leading South Korean music streaming app Melon, the North America-based webtoon company Tapas Entertainment and several media production companies and is a subsidiary of the tech conglomerate Kakao Corp.

The company plans to use the investment to “spearhead growth in K-culture worldwide,” including expanding its record labels’ reach through distribution partners and its artists’ fanbases through touring, according to a company statement.

“It’s significant that we were able to secure funds of this scale at a time when both the Korean and global markets face a lot of uncertainty and investment sentiment is weaker,” said Kakao Corp.’s chief investment officer and executive vp Bae Jae-hyun in the statement. “This is [a] testament to the global competitiveness and future growth potential of Kakao Entertainment’s unique IP value chain, which spans multiple categories in the entertainment industry.”

Singapore’s GIC and Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) each invested 600 billion won ($484 million USD) as part of the deal, the Korea Economic Daily reported earlier on Thursday. GIC and PIF did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Kakao Entertainment will issue new shares through a third-party allotment, it said.